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Movie reviews: The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard, Luca, new Rita Moreno documentary

'The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard' is a follow-up to 'The Hitman's Bodyguard.' But the starry sequel is a hit and a miss.
Credit: Lionsgate
Still image from new movie, The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard, starring (R-L) Ryan Reynolds, Selma Hayek and Samuel L. Jackson

Editor's note: The video above is from a previous story.

THE HITMAN'S WIFE'S BODYGUARD

Ryan Reynolds doesn't have to do much to crack me up! And in "The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard," that's what he and his co-stars do... not much... wrapped up in a lot of frenetic action. If you remember the original four years ago, Reynolds's character Michael Bryce was protecting hitman Darius Kincaide, played by Samuel L. Jackson, when Kincaide took a bullet, instead of the other way around. That caused Bryce to lose his coveted bodyguard rating.

Now, his therapist prescribes a sabbatical by the sea when Kincaide's wife, Sonia, played Salma Hayek, shows up begging for him to rescue her husband from mobsters. One problem, her hubby had asked for anyone BUT Bryce. They all get captured by an agent, who enlists them take down a villain played as a caricature by Antonio Banderas. This might earn a chuckle of irony from Texas moviegoers: he's trying to take down the power grid.

It's hard to count if there are more bullets or F-bombs flying (especially by potty mouth Sonia), but I'd have to go with the latter. At least Hayek appears to be having fun. The other two are phoning it in. There is one fun twist involving Morgan Freeman. Yup, he's in this, too! A lot of talent who could have benefitted from better material.

(Lionsgate. Rated R. In theaters only.)

JUST A GIRL WHO DECIDED TO GO FOR IT

Rita Moreno is the only Hispanic performer to hold the coveted EGOT - EMMY, GRAMMY, Oscar and Tony - status. In this lively and eye-opening documentary, we learn that the journey to collecting coveted awards was not an easy one. 

The Puerto Rican immigrant sang and danced as a teen in New York. When a studio head discovered her, she was swept off to Hollywood, becoming her family's breadwinner. Soon she was stereotyped as a native islander, wearing muddy makeup to be more "convincing."

We also learn about her abuse at the hands of an agent, and her obsessive relationship with Marlon Brando - one that almost killed her not once, but twice. Her long marriage was never happy, either. All this is shared with surprising candor. Then again, would we really expect any less from Moreno?

In a wonderful full circle note, the original "Anita" in the classic "West Side Story" will soon be featured in Steven Spielberg's 60th anniversary remake in a brand new role.

Turning 90 this year, to say Moreno is enduring is selling her way short. She is a treasure, and this film will make you appreciate her even more.

(Roadside Attractions. Rated PG-13. In theaters only.)

LUCA

For the kids, Pixar is streaming "LUCA." No, it's not about the Mavericks star (spelled differently), though he probably deserves his own film! This Luca is an animated tween sea monster voiced with the right touch by Jacob Tremblay (of "Room" fame).

It's a "fish out of water" story, as the monster hits the land to find out what spending a summer in an Italian town would be like as a real person. He runs into another changer who's far more daring. But they must be careful: town bullies lurk in the square, and any splash of water changes their skin back to scales. (side note: sea monsters have horrible table manners!) 

When Luca's loving parents surface, the summer fun is threatened. If the monster-boys can just win a big race and buy a scooter with the prize money - avoiding monster hunters along the way - everything will be okay. Or, will it? There's no place like home even if it's covered in seaweed, but this land living has something going for it!

"Luca" is a nicely-made family film, based on director Enrico Casarosa's own experiences growing up. Coming of age stories take many forms. This one is wet, and a little wild.

(Pixar. Rated PG. Streaming on Disney+.)